Author's note: CONTAINS SPOILERS unless you're caught up with the manga. This is just a little one-shot that's been on my mind ever since Sasuke tried to kill Karin. It's got a tiny bit of SuiKa, but mostly just Taka love because I love the relationship of the team as a whole. It's sweet and it fills me with hawky snakey happiness.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy, and NO, I probably won't be making a sequel. Sorry. D;
Karin had been careful not to wake her two teammates as she crept out the door of the broken-down inn they'd used as a resting place for the night. It'd proved to be harder than it was, though, with the old place's creakiness. The kunoichi hated hearing things creak; she never really made a habit of complaining about it, but she'd still found few things creepier than a creaky building in her lifetime.
Based on the appearance and sounds of the place, it looked as though the inn had been shut down for a while now. Years, probably. As she made her way to the lake nearby, Karin couldn't help but wonder why. It was a nice area, after all. Quiet, a wide view of the sky, and of course, the lake. But even with all these nice things, nothing could change everything that had happened, and nothing could help her forget the things she'd desperately wanted to for days now.
The girl made it to the edge of the lake before she finally came to a stop, looking out into the darkness. Being the hour that it was, she couldn't see anything much except the reflection of the silver moon in the water. Nights like these had once reminded her of Sasuke. Now they only reminded her of the scars he'd left behind. Hesitantly, she lowered herself to a sitting position and hugged her knees to her chest. There was no way she'd be able to sleep anyway. Some alone time would be nice.
Karin jumped a bit at the sound of her name being called. So much for not waking the others. After a moment, she turned her head slightly.
She spoke. "What is it?"
Suigetsu. She couldn't bring herself to respond rudely even though the temptation was strong. He and Juugo had really come out of their way to rescue her from the Leaf Village's interrogation squad, and the sense of his chakra could've held her back even if not for the rescue; he was genuinely worried about her. Still, she couldn't believe she hadn't even sensed his approach. She was really starting to lose it thanks to Sasuke.
At her response, the swordsman came closer, taking a seat next to her as he looked to her face. Karin lowered her head, doing her best to avoid the eye contact. She didn't want them worried about her. She didn't want them to know the truth. It would only bring more pain.
"Is something wrong?" her teammate finally asked.
Almost immediately, Karin replied. "Nothing's wrong, Suigetsu."
You should leave now. Don't worry about me.
She wanted the old Suigetsu back now. The Suigetsu she'd known back when their team had first been formed. The one who didn't give a damn about her. The one who could barely stand her presence. It was all different now, though. They'd grown, gotten closer, learned to really care for one another. Sure, they still didn't always get along. But they'd become a family. Sasuke, Suigetsu, Juugo, and herself. Team Taka. Her family.
Suigetsu snorted in slight annoyance. "Something's wrong. Why'd you come all the way out here, then?"
Karin didn't respond to the question.
"Is this about Sasuke?" he continued. "If you're still worried about him, don't worry. We're gonna get him back first thing tomorrow."
"It's not about him!" She nearly yelled in defense, completely turning away.
But it was. The reason she was out was him. The reason she couldn't sleep, or even think rationally anymore was him. The reason she wanted to run as far as she could go and never look back was him. Everything was him. And suddenly, the girl could no longer hold back the emotions, the pain that he had taken over her with. Her teammate. Her family. The man she'd been madly in love with up until that moment. Sasuke.
Finally, Karin turned to face him again, angry tears rolling down her cheeks. She could no longer hide the truth. They needed to know.
"He tried to kill me, Suigetsu."
The Mist ninja's eyes widened as the words struck a kind of fear into him he'd never felt before. He could barely believe what he was hearing, let alone think of a reply. How could Sasuke attempt to kill one of them?
"But…," Suigetsu wanted to ask her if she was certain, tell her he was sure she was wrong, but the look in her eyes and the tears streaming her face had already answered any questions he could think of.
Without another word, Karin shoved herself into him, burying her face in his chest as she cried out every bit of emotion she'd been keeping in for the past few days. Her teammate could only wrap his arms around her tightly, letting her cry until she could no more. The situation was almost enough to bring tears to his own eyes, but he held them back. He couldn't even begin to imagine how it felt having the person you love to most try to end your life. His embrace tightened slightly at the thought.
Through her cries, Karin finally tried to speak again. "I-I'm sorry… I-I just really need s-someone right now."
"It's okay," he told her. "I understand."
About twenty minutes passed before Karin was able to calm herself completely. She couldn't come up with words to thank her blue-haired companion for letting her cry like she had, and despite being alright again, she still hadn't removed herself from his embrace. Suigetsu didn't mind holding her at all. He was still in slight disbelief that Sasuke had done such a thing to her, but he knew better than to ask her for details yet. She needed healing, not more interrogation.
Now that he knew what had happened, the swordsman was completely stumped on what to do once they were rested up again. The plan had been to go find Sasuke, but if Sasuke had tried to kill Karin, there was no telling what else he might try. Not to mention the attempted murder was no better than any other type of betrayal. Was the Uchiha even a part of their team anymore at all? Would he try to kill all of them if they found him again? Why had he changed so drastically?
The sound of Karin's tired voice brought his attention back to her again.
"Hm?" he answered.
She paused before continuing. "…You and Juugo…you aren't going to leave too, are you?"
Suigetsu could feel the grip she had on him tightening slightly as she asked the question, almost as if she was afraid of what the answer might be. He could tell she'd been viewing the situation just as he had been. Sasuke was no longer a part of their team.
"We'll never leave you, Karin," he answered the question. "We're not like him."
It was easy to tell how fatigued Karin had become just from all the crying she'd done and the fact that she probably hadn't slept well at all since Sasuke had betrayed them. Now that she'd gotten everything off her chest, though, Suigetsu had a feeling she'd finally be able to rest a little better now. Gently, he changed his hold on her to a more bridal style position and stood up to bring her back to the inn. By the time he'd reached it, Karin was already asleep in his arms.
"What happened with you two?"
Juugo had woken up shortly before Suigetsu made it back, and could only ask just that as the swordsman laid Karin down in one of the beds. Silently sighing, he turned to face him with a serious, yet pitiful expression. He didn't know what Juugo's reaction to the situation would be, but he hoped the man wouldn't make any reckless decisions.
He said, "Sasuke tried to kill her. He's not one of us anymore, Juugo."
Though the only reaction he noticed was a slight widening of the eyes, Suigetsu could tell the news was surprising even to Juugo; when nothing else was said, he continued.
"I told her we wouldn't leave her. Technically, the decision for you to stay or go is all up to you, but," he paused. "…the Sasuke we knew is gone. I'm no longer affiliated with this new Sasuke."
With that being said, he went back to his own bed he'd picked for the night and tried to get back to sleep, leaving Juugo to his own decision.
Juugo looked to Karin, unable to understand everything he'd just heard. Sasuke had always been important to him, given that he was all that was left of his former best friend, but if Sasuke could really view them, his team, as nothing more than trash to be thrown away, was he even worth it? All Karin had ever done was love him. And while Sasuke used to be the only one Juugo thought could control his rage and instinct to kill during the rage, he'd come to find that his bonds with the rest of the team were enough to keep him in check as well. He'd never had a family before them, never been counted on or appreciated. Did the memory of Kimimaro really matter more than them anymore? He wasn't sure. If the Sasuke they'd known truly was gone, though, then that part of him was gone as well.
Don't be afraid, Karin…
Perhaps what they really needed to do…was save him from all this. Perhaps Sasuke was still the same Sasuke they'd known…he just needed reminding.
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